Former Top Gear host, Jeremy Clarkson, may have let the cat out of the bag a couple weeks back, when he tweeted his new show, The Grand Tour on Amazon Prime Video, is set to go global next month, which includes Canada.
Now, at this morning’s second day of CRTC public hearing on the renewal of television licenses, Bell Media president, Mary Ann Turcke, reveals Amazon Prime is set to launch in Canada on December 1, as noted by Cartt’s Greg O’Brien, who attended the hearing (via MobileSyrup):
Now, a new global OTT competitor—Amazon Prime—is entering the Canadian market in two days. So it’s not just our fellow Canadian broadcasters who will try to outbid us for first run, original programming but it’s Netflix and now Amazon, two entities that are not subject to the same regulatory requirements as us and that have astronomically more buying power than we do. And Amazon is just the next one in a potential universe of six worldwide brands that we will have to compete against.
Turcke was responding to concerns of Bell Media and how it competes nowadays against “an ecosystem that blends both regulated and unregulated operators, which creates a new level of complexity.”
The reported launch of Amazon Prime Video in Canada comes just after shomi–the product of Rogers and Shaw–shuts down.
Essentially, Bell Media says people are watching more and more video online, with English Canada seeing a 12% drop in prime time this year alone. Meanwhile, Netflix and its approximate 5.2 million subscribers (which an estimated 1 million to have signed up in 2016 alone) in Canada, puts more pressure on traditional broadcasters.
According to Bell, Netflix nabs $600 million worth of subscription revenue per year in Canada, which equates to nearly 30% of revenues available (excluding sports).
The company also detailed a harrowing story from last May, when they were down in Los Angeles bidding on foreign TV rights against Netflix. Bell said it was “lucky” to win two of three shows, but they paid “a significant premium” because of Netflix, who was “willing to pay more for the content even in a non-ad supported world.”
Should a company like Netflix or other OTT operator acquire top prime time network television shows, Bell Media argues it would lose viewers and advertising revenues from Canadian businesses.
Bell Media also commented on their shutdown of analog TV transmitters, citing high costs to maintain and replace them, which comes in at nearly $2 million each.
Knowing the complexities of streaming rights in Canada (where a few players hold rights), aside from Amazon Original Series content, we probably will lack access to the wide variety of shows our U.S. neighbours get down south.
Do you still pay for cable? Or are you solely watching your video content online?